“No one understands me, no one understands the life of a military family member,” are things I remember thinking as a military child in a civilian community.
But I failed to notice that I was not the only one with this thought going through my head. Even in a military community, it is easy to feel alone being part of a military family. When living in part of the military life, it can feel like such an unstable life. A loved one in and out, moving, being away from family, and so much more contributes to a life that can feel lonely.
That’s why in 2021 I started Grace of a Military Child Podcast. My goal and motivation behind it was to help connect military children around the world so they did not feel as alone. Living as part of a military family is an incredibly rewarding feeling. While it presents many challenging aspects, there are so many parts of military life that can bring so much joy.
It is extremely important to me that the stories of military children and family members are shared. The highs and the lows that come with military life are all equally valid and should be acknowledged. The family that stands behind the service member is equally important as the service member.
My dad served in the US Army and was tragically injured in November 2011. While out on a mission, he stepped on an IED and ended up losing his right leg and substantial damage to his other lower extremity, right hand, lung, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, among many other visible and non-visible wounds. That experience taught me so much more than I could have learned in my entire lifetime. At the young age of 9, I was forced to mature and become a caregiver to not only my dad, but also my younger sister. Being an older sibling, I felt that there was a void I had to fill with both of my parents preoccupied with my dad’s injuries, let alone raising me and my sister (which they balanced extremely well—shout out to my parents).
It was a challenging transition for me leaving the military life—this is where I felt the most alone. I came from a community where there were many children like me, and there were many families like my own, and moved to a community where there were not many other young military families of my age. My friends never understood why I felt so passionate about certain topics and why I was so mature at such a young age. I always gravitate more towards hanging out with my parent’s friends (adults) rather than kids of my own age because of the gap in maturity levels. It was something I struggled to understand.
The past year has been quite a year for me. I am a full-time college student majoring in health science and minoring in marketing. I will be graduating in May 2023 and have been preparing to finally walk that stage, since I was a 2020 graduate. In January I started dating an active-duty US Marine and am planning a wedding for Summer 2023.
Because of that, I have decided to create an expansion of Grace of a Military Child Podcast, repositioning it to be Grace of a Military Child and Life With this expansion, I am able to include the entire military family, giving each and every person a place to share their story and experiences of being a military child or spouse. I learned very quickly that it is not easy being a military spouse or significant other. There is a different love between a couple than there is a parent-child relationship that makes it feel so different having your significant other away than a parent away. I wanted to be able to encompass all areas of my life being both an Army child and soon to be a Marine Corps spouse.
Episodes air Tuesday and Thursday every week at 0500 eastern standard time.
Be sure to check out @graceofamilitarychildandlife on Instagram to keep up to date with all new things happening.
Podcast episodes can be streamed on all podcast streaming platforms as well as audio on YouTube.
If you are a military child or military spouse and want to be on the podcast, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be in contact with Gracie. Or, you can send a message on Instagram or Facebook.